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The Mountains of Colorado (10/29/2003)
By Dave DeLano

Dave DeLano
Getting an opportunity to go elk hunting was something that I could not pass on this year. I did it even though it meant that I would miss a Packer game, something that has not happened in many, many years. And so it was that I took my "bye" week a week earlier than the Packers and spent it in the mountains of southwest Colorado. The weather there was unseasonably warm and the animals were still in the high ranges and very tough to locate. At over 11,000 feet, I quickly gained respect for the rough habitat that this mighty animal lives in. The fresh smell of pines in the mountain air, the warmth of the afternoon sun at that thin altitude and the crisp mountain nights made for memories that will last a lifetime.

While the hunting was tough, I did stumble upon a beautiful little mountain meadow stream at about 9,500 feet called Sheep Creek. Being an avid fly fisherman, it took me about 5 seconds to see that this stream was full of trout. Soon I replaced the 270 Winchester with my fly rod and in a very short transformation I was immersed in catching and releasing dozens of beautifully colored Brown and Brook trout. A photograph records some of the scenery near that stream and appears at the top of this column. I even did something I don't normally do" I kept some trout to feed the hunters. The salmonoids were prepared with a wad of butter in the cavity. Seasoned and wrapped in tin foil, they were tossed into the campfire ashes for 5 minutes per side. Delicious!

Anyway, back to football" from reading accounts of last week's loss to the Rams, the Pack played another lousy football game and thoroughly deserved their 4th loss of the season. Maybe the players need a week off to clear their heads of what have thus far been too many disappointing performances. The coaching staff better not be doing anything this "bye" week but making changes in their game plans, re-evaluating personnel, figuring out why this season has run amuck and making the changes necessary to get the team back to their winning ways.

Here are a couple things I would like to see happen during the second half of the season. I would like to see the Packers open up their passing game with more deep passes headed in the direction of Javon Walker. Walker has the size and speed to make big plays yet thus far he hasn't had many of those opportunities. On defense, I think the Pack need to shuffle some of their personnel around. I would like to see Torrance Marshall, Aaron Kampman, Chukie Nwokorie, Kenny Peterson and maybe even Terdell Sands get more playing time. The current group of starters isn't getting the job done. KGB, Joe Johnson and Cletidus Hunt ought to return some of their huge contract bonuses to charity because they sure aren't contributing in proportion to their pay.

Next week brings a rematch with the hated Minnesota Vikings to be played in that most horrible of horrible stadiums, the Hump. The Vikings got beat pretty soundly at home last Sunday by the Giants. Their defense, like the Packs', is vulnerable to attack. The Giants passed the ball at will against the Vikes and the Pack surely have more firepower than the Giants to do the same. With Randy Moss and Co. functioning in high gear, the Vikes will surely score lots of points in this one. The winner will probably put 30 - 40 points on the board. It sure is a far cry from the old days when these two teams had respectable defenses and slugged it out in the old "black and blue" division. If the Pack are to salvage respect for the 2003 squad, this game is a must. 


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